The great thing about appalling weather is that it is the perfect time to enjoy long lunches in front of the fire with family and friends. And what better way to celebrate than with a roast.
August 4 is National Roast Day and a chance to showcase your skills. Selaks Wines is sponsoring the event with recipe ideas and a competition.
This year, roast day has an international theme to celebrate Selaks' Croatian heritage and that for 79 years it has helped bring people together to appreciate good food and wine.
Every country has its own special take on a roast, whether it be the spices used, the vegetable accompaniments or the sauce served with it.
But whatever the recipe, one important fact is consistent to roasting all meats: after removing it from the oven the meat must be allowed to rest. This ensures that the juices remain in the roast when it is carved.
Place the roast on a warm platter and tent with foil.
Stand for at least 10 minutes - or up to 20 minutes - depending on the size.
Use this down-time to make the gravy from the juices of the roast or to cook and/or dish up the vegetables.
Ensure the meat is at room temperature before roasting.
Weigh the meat to calculate the cooking time.
To help make a dark gravy, lightly brown the flour in a dry pan before adding to pan juices and/or stock. Or place a couple of tablespoons of flour in a corner of the roasting pan.
CHINESE FIVE-SPICE DUCK WITH FENNEL & OLIVES
If fennel bulbs are unavailable, use celery and a few fennel seeds.
2.1kg duck, thawed, giblets removed
4 shallots, sliced
1 large stalk celery, chopped
Handful fennel fronds
1 tsp each: salt, Chinese five-spice
1 each: large red onion, fennel bulb
8 large pitted green olives
Glaze: 1 tbsp each: liquid honey, hoisin sauce
Gravy: 1 & 1/2 cups good chicken stock
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice
1-2 tbsp browned flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Roast: Wash duck and pat dry inside and out. Stuff with shallots, celery and fennel fronds. Tie with string to keep a good shape. Sprinkle evenly with salt and Chinese five-spice. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 2 hours to dry the skin.
Preheat oven to 150C. Place duck on a rack in a roasting pan, breast-side up. Roast for 35 minutes per 500g.
Vegetables: Halve onion and fennel bulb lengthwise. Cut each half into four wedges. After 30 minutes, drain fat from roasting pan. Add onion, fennel bulb and olives.
Continue cooking, draining fat from pan a further once or twice during cooking.
During last 10 minutes, increase oven temperature to 180C. Brush duck with combined honey and hoisin sauce.
Gravy: Meanwhile, boil chicken stock and Chinese five-spice for 3-4 minutes.
Remove duck, vegetables and olives to a platter and stand in a warm place. Drain fat from roasting pan. Pour in half a cup of chicken stock and mix well with juices in the pan. Pour into a small bowl. Add a quarter of the roasted red onion and fennel. Mix with a hand-blender until smooth.
Pour back into remaining chicken stock. Mix flour to a smooth paste with a little water then whisk into gravy, boiling until thickened. Season. Great served with Selaks pinot noir. Serves 4.
FRENCH-STYLE ROAST PORK WITH TARRAGON CREAM
Ensure the skin is finely scored. A boned and rolled shoulder of pork would also suit. Make the sauce ahead and reheat before serving. Pair with Selaks Reserve Hawke's Bay chardonnay.
2.5kg boned, rolled leg of pork
3 large cloves garlic, slivered
Salt and freshly ground back pepper to taste
Tarragon cream: 50g butter
1 large shallot, finely diced
2 tbsp flour
1 cup each: chicken stock, cream
1-2 tbsp dried tarragon
3 tbsp Dijon-style mustard
Make several slits in pork flesh. Insert slivered garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and rub into skin. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight to allow skin to dry out.
Preheat oven to 200C. Remove meat from fridge and return to room temperature. Place in a roasting pan. Add 1 cup of water. Cook for 10 minutes then reduce temperature to 160C. Roast for 40 minutes per 500g.
Meanwhile, melt butter on medium-low heat. Saute shallot until very soft. Stir in flour and cook for 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in chicken stock, stirring until thickened. Simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in cream, tarragon and mustard. Simmer for 5 minutes. Serves 8.
PEPPERED VENISON WITH GERMAN-STYLE RED CABBAGE
I used a new cut of venison roast from Silver Fern Farms. Serve with Selaks Reserve Hawke's Bay merlot cabernet.
German-style red cabbage: 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups red wine
4 each: whole black peppercorns, whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt to taste
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 large orange
4 cups shredded red cabbage
Venison: 400g farmed boneless venison roast
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
To prepare cabbage, heat sugar in a small heavy saucepan on medium heat, until it caramelises.
Add red wine and stir to dissolve caramel. Add remaining ingredients except cabbage. Simmer for 1 minute.
Place cabbage in a bowl and pour hot marinade on top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 200C.
Season venison roast with black pepper, pressing in well. Heat oil in a heavy frying pan suitable for the oven. Sear venison for 5 minutes ensuring all sides are browned.
Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes. Remove, cover loosely with foil and rest for 10 minutes.
Return cabbage to room temperature before serving. The marinade can be drained, warmed through and served as a sauce with the meat.
Great accompanied with mustard and boiled potatoes tossed in butter, chopped fresh herbs and black pepper.
MOROCCAN ROAST LAMB
The small amount of saffron infuses the meat with amazing flavour that matches well with Selaks Reserve Marlborough pinot gris.
1.5kg leg of lamb
50g butter, softened
1 tsp each: salt, white pepper, ground cumin
1/2 tsp saffron threads, crushed
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp each: finely grated orange rind, olive oil
Potatoes: 6 medium baking potatoes
1 tbsp butter or table spread
Preheat oven to 160C.
Score skin of the lamb as for a ham. With the point of a small sharp knife, make 6-8 slits in the flesh.
Combine butter, spices, orange rind and olive oil. Spread mixture over the lamb, pushing it into slits.
Place in a roasting pan. Add 1 cup water. Roast for 35 minutes per 500g.
Bake potatoes in the oven at the same time. Rub with butter or table spread, then place in the oven for 1 & 1/4 hours.
A gravy can be made with pan juices to which a little orange juice has been added. Serves 6.